Jon Stewart Says ‘I Apologize to Dicks’ for Declaring Tucker Carlson Was One in Classic CNN Appearance

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Gavin Evans
·3 min read
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Image via Getty/Kevin Mazur/Stringer

Here’s some news about a tweet, which is probably the type of thing Jon Stewart would make fun of if he were still on the air. Said tweet had Stewart recalling the time he called Tucker Carlson a “dick” on national TV.

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Back in October 2004, Stewart went on the CNN show Crossfire (see: Pardon the Interruption with politics) to decry insufferable cable news outlets because he thought it was stupid to get partisan hacks and have them argue over important issues like they were sports. As we all know now, that was the day cable news turned it all around andoh wait, never mind. At the time Stewart specifically used the term “partisan hacks” when addressing co-hosts Tucker Carlson and Paul Begala, and also asked them to “stop hurting America.” His contention was that shows like Crossfire don’t inform audiences, that the revolving casts of hosts did nothing but exchange talking points, and he also added that calling Crossfire a debate show is like “saying pro wrestling is a show about athletic competition.”

Though it would be a little nuts to do, you can read the whole transcript here.

Stewart’s criticism led to pushback from Carlson, who now obviously has his own show in primetime on Fox. Carlson accused Stewart of asking then-Democratic-presidential-candidate John Kerry “softball” questions. Stewart responded by saying it was dumb that “news organizations look to Comedy Central for their cues on integrity.”

When pressed on it, Stewart referenced Crank Yankers by saying “You’re on CNN! The show that leads into me is puppets making crank phone calls! What is wrong with you?” He was asked to “be funny” and said, “No, I’m not going to be your monkey.” After a commercial break, Carlson told Stewart he thought he was “funner” on the Daily Show, to which Stewart said, “You’re as big a dick on your show as you are on any show.”

You can watch below, and if you want to skip to the dick line it’s around 12:23:

As for the epilogue, Crossfire was canceled about three months afterward, and CNN’s then-incoming president Jonathan Klein referenced Stewart’s opinion of the show when canceling, saying “I think he made a good point about the noise level of these types of shows, which does nothing to illuminate the issues of the day.” It was revived in 2013, then went back off the air the year next.

Pretty much every media problem Stewart ever pointed out is probably as bad (or worse) than it was when he said it. But, still, calling a guy a “dick” on national TV has got to be cathartic.

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